A record-breaking 42 Ambassadors will train, recruit, and inspire others this coming spring in preparation for the 42nd running of the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. Here is one of their stories.
In 2013, I volunteered with the county fair queens of Indiana at a water station on the back half of the race. This particular water stop was revealing of each individual and how their race was finishing up. In their faces, you saw determination, perseverance, passion, and a fight for the finish… I knew then I wanted to run this race one day, and I did four years later.
I took advantage of the Mini Maniac Challenge and participated in the Miler Series and the Mini-Marathon. After each of the Miler Series races, my mother-in-law would ask how my race went. She would join me in a heartbeat if she were able to. She has muscular dystrophy and is wheelchair bound. She is the reason that I run. When the miles become hard, my legs feel like lead and my heart wants to burst out of my chest, I think of Leah and what she would do for another chance to teach aerobics, or dance, or merely walk again. I run for her cure. I am thankful for her support and the way that she encourages me to get out there, no matter the pace, to be the healthiest version of me that I can be.
Stephanie’s Mini-Marathon Experience
This will be my second Indy Mini and I’m hoping to PR!
The Indy Mini is unique in various aspects. First, the Indy Mini means something different to everyone. Each participant has a different story to tell and brings different passion and fire to a triumphant physical accomplishment. Second, the support and encouragement by bands, spectators and fans alike throughout the course of the race is unlike any other event. There are spectators with signs, costumes, instruments, and countless volunteers cheering you on to the finish line, wishing you only success.
I highly encourage participating in the Miler Series! It provides great checkpoints along the training season, and it’s awesome to meet new people who are working towards the same goal! I also recommend finding a group for long runs. They can get lonely and boring if you’re out there alone. Find an accountability partner, great socks and you’ll be ready to go! Enjoy the experience, take in every moment, and know that if you put in the hard work, it will pay off.